The never-ending adventures of a travel writer in Vietnam, Cambodia, New Zealand and throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Movie "Editing" in Vietnam

Brining the subject back to Vietnam...

I'm in Saigon at the moment to, among other things, making a movie run at the cinema. The cinemas in Vietnam have vastly improved over the last 5 years. We now have screens with audio systems and seating that rival those in the USA. We have access to movies at the same time as the USA too (most of the time), although distribution has been delayed a few times (Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith being a good examples) due to silly Vietnamese ideas about lucky and "auspicious dates."

I'm almost embarrassed to admit I did go see GI Joe. The juvenility of the movie was just a little above Power Rangers, I'm sorry to say... but it still was entertaining. The poorly-translated Vietnamese subtitles aside (as well as overlooking the fact that the censors didn't allow certain catch-words to be translated into Vietnamese, regardless of context). It was annoying to see all hatchet-job editing the local censors did to remove "objectionable" violence. I remember at least 3 scenes that jumped awkwardly in the middle of dialogue and action, to a resolution which no longer made sense. Further surprising was the next movie I saw, "The Proposal" with Sandra Bullock. I enjoyed the movie quite a bit, but was rather surprised to see so much skin in a couple of scenes--and more-so that the local censors apparently found it unobjectionable and declined to edit. I'm really curious what the standard is in using to edit films.

I suppose it's not as bad as the way Discovery Travel and Living gets "edited" in Vietnam. Every time there is a travel or cuisine show with a segment on alcohol, the screen immediately switches to rainbow bars until it is over.

6 comments:

Ngoan said...

Hi Adam,

Can you give me some recommendations regarding the nice theaters (wide big screens, awesome sounds) in Saigon? The last time I went to a movie there was 13 years ago. That experienced dramatized me to this day (sticky floor, a bad video projector showing a movie from a VHS tape source and not to mention the rats running around). This was ofcourse a far cry from the experiences I had going to movies in my youth when Saigon was considered the 'Pearl of the Orient'. Rex (now they only retain the hotel) was the best movie house that can put a lot of theaters in the US to shame.

Swingkid said...

I felt the same way about GI Joe. I had hoped it would be better, but the comparison to power rangers is pretty spot on. Don't worry, you didn't miss much with the bad editing, none of the movie really made sense.

Adam said...

This particular post apparently displeased some folks, as the whole blog was blocked for the last 48hrs in this country. Not sure what went on exactly but glad the blacklisting was only temporary.

Ngoan, thankfully the theaters have vastly improved. Diamond Plaza has a Lotte theater at the top. It's starting to show some wear and tear this year but still not bad. There is a VIP Paragon theater in one of the outer districts, but I'm not sure the address. The 2 I like are the Galaxy in district 1 near Cach Mang Tang Tam, and the new Lotte Cinema in the Lotte Mart at 469 Nguyen Huu Tho, Q7, Saigon.

Adam said...

HCMC - Saigon Paragon
Level 5, Saigon Paragon Building
03 Nguyen Luong Bang street
district 7
Ho Chi Minh city
Tel: +848 5416 00 88
Fax: +848 5416 00 99
Email: spp@megastarmedia.net

Adam said...

www.megastarcinemas.com

www.galaxycine.vn

www.lottecinemavn.com

Adam said...

Just saw District 9 at the Paragon. The theater was very nice, though much like the new Lotte and Galaxy Cinemas. The shopping center itself, though very upscale, was not my cup of tea, and that it caters exclusively to women's interests--women's cloths, shoes, cosmetics and perfumes.

District 9 was an excellent movie. I definitely would like to see it again, not only because I enjoyed it so much--but also, unfortunately because the government censors did such a hack-job on deleting random violence that I feel a bit robbed. Even without the second half of several scenes however, it managed to be a great movie.

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